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Make a Felted Dala Horse Ornament
Submitted by Pam on Thu, 11/19/2009 - 05:03
wool felt fabric
Stepping away from traditional red because my eyes love this gorgeous teal blue, But I have one cut from red wool to work on during a blogging break!
I have chosen to make mine from my stash of colorful Pendleton blanket weight wool scraps, but wool felt or felted wool sweaters or felted wool fabric would work equally well.
You will need:
wool felt fabric
roving or worsted yarns
wool or perle cotton embroidery yarn
needle with a large eye to accommodate the yarn
foam felting pad
a bit of fiber fill for stuffing
paper and pencil
Begin by making a pattern. I did a little internet search and drew my own, but you could trace one if an image is available to you! Or you may "borrow" mine!
You can see it took me several tries to get the back end to look the way I wanted!
Cut out your pattern.
I cut two horse patterns so I could make absolutely sure I placed them on the fabric facing opposite directions. This is important - otherwise you will end up with two fronts or two backs!
I also cut patterns out of wax paper so that as I moved them around the designs on the Pendleton fabrics I could see what they would look like. A wax paper pattern would be very helpful if you are planning to use a patterned fabric for your horse - or any other animal for that matter.
Ready to begin felting!
Just for reference, here is a closer shot of my little practice sample. Notice that worsted wool yarn felts very well and is easy to use when you wish to create an outline. However, to fill in an area, roving would work best.
Draw the outline of the design onto your felt with a pencil or sewing chalk. Your horse should be lying on the foam pad right side facing you.
Pull off a piece of roving about the diameter of a pencil and twist as you see shown above. Place the roving along the line.
Holding the felting needle as close to vertical as you can, begin attaching the roving to the felt punching the needle through the roving, and into the felt and the pad. Don't be timid. You need to be a bit aggressive to push the roving into the felt.
But don't be careless. Stay totally focused on what you are doing while needle felting. Pay special attention to where you are sticking the needle. These needles are sharp and I can't even imagine what it must feel like to gety stuck with one. All those barbs - OUCH!
Roving loves to return to it's untwisted state so you will need to continue to twist as you work you way around the design lines. Cut excess roving off at the fabric edge, being sure to felt the ends into the fabric.
Back view! Just so you know what it should look like!
To make the coils, secure your twisted roving (or yarn) in the center of the circle and then begin winding the roving around and around, felting in place with the needle as you go.
When your circle is complete, cut the roving leaving a tiny piece to be felted onto the coil.
If you want a dot of contrasting color in the centers of your circles, felt them on after completing the coils.
Add bits of yarn for the bridle attaching the ends to the inside surface of the horse. Use the image at the top of the post as a placement guide.
Place the front and back of your horse together, right sides facing out - wrong sides together. Leaving the belly open, blanket stitch around the outside edge of the horse..
Fill lightly with fiber fill and blanket stitch the belly closed.
Attach a yarn loop for hanging.
I only felted a design onto one side of the horse, but you could felt both sides before you stitch them together if you wish.
My Pendleton Dala has a different design on each side!
This little guy was very easy! Just cut out, blanket stitch around the edges, stuff and hang!
I love how the Pendleton woven design almost duplicates the look of Swedish Dala designs.
Everyone needs at least one Dala horse on their tree!
I hope I get time to complete my red one before the 13th!